Although they’re just a few hours away from the Montreal metal mecca, it’s not very often that I hear much heavy stuff from Quebec City. In fact, I can really only think of two stoner/psych outfits from the distinct nation’s capital—the unfortunately named Les Indiens and now WhiteNails. And while the former sings entirely in la langue de Levesque, this outfit is actually anglophone, which I understand to be a rarity around that part of the province.
As its moniker implies, First Trip is the band’s debut album, although five of the eight songs on here also appeared on an EP of the same name last year. “Shanghaied” gets things started with some decent space-rock riffage, sounding somewhat akin to early 2000’s Monster Magnet, albeit with a more Swedish-sounding vocal. I suppose there’s a bit of Truckfighters here too, especially on the chorus. Despite an opening riff that’s reminiscent of Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave,” second track “Done and Gone” takes a totally different track. This one takes a minute or two to get going, before the soaring stoner-rock riffs come in. The clean, airy production adds another layer to these tunes—the closest comparison I can think of is the underground Austrian outfit Monsters of the Ordinary.
The up-tempo “Dead in Time” might be the best song on here. It takes some classic stoner-rock grooves, laying on a slower, vocal-driven verse before culminating in a catchy chorus. Again, they seem to take a page out of the Swedish stoner-rock playbook here, with just a touch of Danzig…e specially in the vocal department. “Damn Judas” sounds like a tune that would work on hard rock radio, if such a thing still existed; catchy, hook-laden, and all over in less than four minutes. The closest comparisons I would draw to WhiteNails hail from across the pond—Truckfighters, Graveyard, maybe a bit of Lowrider, yet with some of the radio-friendly sensibilities of Priestess’ Hello Master… perhaps the last great heavy rock record released in Quebec.